“Anybody need socks? Medical? Band-aids? Hand sanitizer?”
Lois Thetford, a University of Washington faculty member, called out in a low voice as she and three UW students made their way through closely spaced, tarp-covered tents that make up Tent City 3 — the long-running tent encampment that recently moved to the UW campus.
The temperature hovered near freezing, with a brisk wind blowing from the west. Most of the campers huddled in their tents, pitched in the UW parking lot that will be their home for the next three months. The camp was almost completely silent — it was impossible to know which tents were inhabited and which were empty.
Yet as Thetford and her students passed, a hand poked out of an opening in one tent, and a woman’s voice from inside said: “Socks are always good. Thank you.”
The next stop was the food tent, where Chris Pitre, a student studying to be a physician assistant, chatted with Jeff Bainter, a restaurant cook and Tent City camper. Did he have any medical issues?
“I have this horrible cough, a persistent, horrible cough,” Bainter said. Pitre reached for his stethoscope.
The UW began hosting the homeless camp in early January, and it’s believed to be the first time that a major public university has ever hosted a tent city on its campus.
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